Good luck Taco Bell, you’re going to need it

Customisation options introduced by Taco Bell presents new opportunities but it carries risks too, says Bill Main FCSI

Taco Bell’s recent move to facilitate, via a new website, guests’ ability to advance order their food online (read: smartphone) and also allowing guests to customise each order to their personal tastes is certainly the next strategy to differentiate their brand and reclaim market share.

In a great Huffington Post article by Suzy Strutner two phrases stand out: “designing meals on the site is addictively fun and (items) “that contain what you are craving”.

This is a fastball right down the middle to the Millenials (aged 20-35), and the author nailed it perfectly. Because of the six mini-meals a day, snacking-oriented Millenials will love it. Even our over-40 generation will get there if it works. No guarantees there. I just recently (finally) figured out (with help from the wonderfully friendly and well trained Starbucks counter staff) how to use my iPhone payment app. It only took me a month…but now I’m hooked and yes, I’m spending more as a result.

This is marketing at it’s finest… “identify who your customer is, then how to meet their needs”.

I love to make complicated simple. And as the world of ‘all things digital’ continues to explode, I constantly wonder if the new generation of Millenials, which is 20% bigger than the Baby Boomers, really wants all this innovation? Will it re-shape discretionary spending in the quick service segment?

My answer is it probably willl – but only if Taco Bell gets it right. Great marketing can be destroyed in a heartbeat by poor operational execution. The first taco I order (hold the cheese) that contains cheese, I am gone. To me, as an old Baby Boomer, the potential for guest complaints and order assembly accuracy problems is the 800-pound gorilla in the room.

The average back-of-the-house $10 hour employee who is reasonably tech-savvy should be able to navigate this multi-tasking challenge. Like drive through when first introduced, it took a while to work out the kinks.

The trouble is, one bad experience can go viral via Yelp and other similar sites, and it’s good night, Irene.

Taco Bell is a fine company, but the devil is always in the detail. We will see how Taco Bell’s training regimen works out. In the end, it’s always operational execution that wins the day.

Bill Main FCSI



More Relevant

View More